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United Kingdom: abortion, letter from Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland. “Duty to cherish human life”

“The anniversary of the 1967 UK Abortion Act provides an opportunity to reflect on abortion through the experiences of women and families over the past 50 years, in light of medical and social advances and the ethical issues involved”. Card. Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Philip Tartaglia wrote this in a “Statement on Abortion” issued on behalf of all the Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland fifty years after the legalization of abortion, during which the number of abortions has increased “to such an alarming level”. The widespread appeal to “freedom of choice” has become increasingly centred on the “resolution of dilemmas and difficulties according to their emotional impact and our immediate desires”, ignoring “any reference to more fundamental values”: our choices, however, should be the fruit of “mature consideration, fully informed of the consequences and implications of our action”. In the case of abortion, choices should also “acknowledge the duty to cherish human life and to foster its flourishing beyond the circumstances of any one person, however challenging these may be”. The Bishops recall that abortion also has consequences for the parents “both in terms of taking responsibility to protect and care for the children they have conceived and in coping with the impact of abortion”. Recalling the words of the last two Popes, they speak of recognizing “the burden of guilt” that those who decide to “destroy a human life in the womb” have and of the “unfailing mercy of God”.

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